March is the month of the half marathon with Newport, Merthyr, Llanelli and Cardiff all to choose from within a hours drive and some of our runners are even doing 3 in 4 weeks. Plenty more parkruns and firsts from Zero to Hero runners, whilst Richard's trail sessions provide an outlet for those wanting a different challenge and in most cases beautiful scenery.
Saturday 5 - parkruns, Gwent League XC and Invincibl Obstacle Race
More first time Zero to Hero runners coupled with our ever growing amount of regulars meant a bumper attendance of 34 runners at Porthcawl. Lots of PB's as well with Emma, Claire, Melanie, Sarah L, Alana, Julie R, Rhiannon B and Rhiannon W all beating previous bests. Whilst there were first time PB's for Beverely, Joanne and Julie D.
We also had two parkrun tourists with Nicola Prior running at Burnham parkrun and getting a 5K PB whilst Sian Tossell ran at Swansea Bay clocking her fastest parkrun time in over a year.
Fiona Drysdale ran at the Brecon fixture of the Gwent League clocking 33:37 on the 5.7K course. Cwm Ogwr have been represented in 3 of the 6 fixtures this year having only attended 1 the previous season.
Lyndon West and Brian Cotton ran, climbed and crawled around Margam park on the Invincibl obstacle course. Both entered the Elite wave and Lyndon finished 10th overall.
Sunday 6 - Newport and Merthyr Half Marathons
I couldn't mention the Newport Half Marathon without noting that one of our runners (Kelly) lost her race number and therefore couldn't run. She found it a couple of days later whilst cleaning. To be fair she did do one of the toughest runs the valley has to offer which is running over the Bwlch and back so attacking it from both sides rather than a straight up to the top and back down.
As for the race, Martin Beard who recently signed up for his first Ironman in Tenby later this year came in at an impressive 1:40 for a best time with the club and just 1 minute off his career PB. Christie Coleman was next in at 1:45 beating his previous best by over 3 minutes. Mark Worrall who only joined the club this year ran his first half marathon in 2:04 whilst Heather Garratt finished in 2:18 after running with colleagues and pupils from her school who were raising money for charity.
At Merthyr Half Marathon, June Parry clocked a PB with the club of 2:04 and was second in her age category.
Saturday 13 - parkruns
31 Cwm Ogwr members across 5 different parkrun venues. At Porthcawl Dave Evans ran his first sub 20 since joining the club last May with a 19:58 (his PB before joining the club is 19:45). Nick Harris also got a subs best with a 19:59 - his first sub 20 run since last October. Several other seasons bests as well. As for PB's, Mark Worrall got his 3rd parkrun PB in 4 weeks and has also notched up a 10K and HM PB's in that time. Claire Dunbar-Bowen equalled her PB from last week whilst Sarah Littlewood knocked 45 seconds off her time with a 28:41. It was my 250th career event but as I was returning from injury, I offered to pace 27:30 rather than celebrate by 'going for it'. Chris Pratt volunteered to pace for the first time at 25:00. Not forgetting Maria who has now volunteered over 60 times!
Elsewhere, Richard LJ ran at the Gnoll whilst Chris and Amy Roberts ran at Birkenhead with seasons bests for both. Amy's time of 24:10 being good enough to put her up to second on the female 5K rankings this year.
We thought that was it for the Cwm Ogwr results before Nick messaged me to say Niki had run at Swansea Bay parkrun in 18:41! Smashing his PB by 23 seconds on the flat fast course and becoming only the second Cwm Ogwr runner to go sub 19. My phone buzzed again - Chris Williams telling me Neil Jones ran at Pontypridd as well. His time - 18:39! His second fastest parkrun time ever (best is 18:33) with his overall 5K PB and club record of 18:20 being at Nos Galan.
Sunday 14 - Llanelli HM, Liverpool HM and Dragon 10K
A massive turnout at Llanelli Half Marathon with 25 runners. A record breaking morning with Neil Jones following up his blistering 5K time from the day before with a 1:25:02 to beat the club record which had stood since October 2014 by over 4 minutes. There was also a female club record with Julie Webster knocking around 3 minutes off the record that had stood for over 3 years with a 1:44:43. There were 15 PB's in total with several minutes knocked off previous bests for Aled, Shelley, Heather and Melanie whilst Brian beat his career personal best which had stood for several years. Dai Kembery helped pace Melanie to her huge PB whilst Denise ran with Andrea who along with Nicola was running her first half marathon.
Father-daughter team Chris and Amy Roberts ran the Liverpool Half Marathon the same morning running the whole way together. Amy beat her personal best by 8 seconds with a 1:48:47 which is one of the fastest times run by a Cwm Ogwr female and an age category club record.
At the Dragon 10K, Chris Thomas ran an impressive 46:33 despite a heavy hangover, and Nicola Haxton bagged her second PB of the weekend with a 1:07:42.
Random milestones / stats
The past couple of weeks has seen...
This Friday will see the club AGM. Sunday is the final West Glam XC fixture with a multi terrain course including some sand dunes in Aberavon. The club will be heavily represented at the Cardiff World Half Marathon Championships on Saturday 26th with plenty signed up to run as well as others volunteering or coming along to support. Exciting times ahead.